Oh sweet chocolate, how I love thee! Chocolate, beetroot, and dates create one ode-worthy healthy dessert. Don't be surprised if you find yourself singing its praises while frantically ravaging every bite down to the last microscopic morsel on the spoon.
Besides its delicious flavor, raw cacao contains many fantastic health benefits. Known for being a "happy food," studies have shown that cacao (chocolate), is a stellar mood enhancer, as it can increase certain neurotransmitters promoting a sense of well-being. "The same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenylethylamine – is found in chocolate" (Food Matters). Guess what? You can eat MORE cacao (chocolate) because it helps your mood!
Raw cacao is also high in antioxidants and trace minerals, protects nerve cells, improves circulation, and increases energy. There are so many amazing reasons (as if we NEED reasons) to eat more chocolate. Wahoo!
What is the Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa?
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. Cocoa (like in hot chocolates and chocolate bars) may look like cacao, but it is not the same. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures which can change the molecular structure of the cacao bean reducing its overall nutritional value. However, both are beneficial for health.
Raw cacao combined with the superhero benefits of beetroot (antioxidants, minerals, and fiber) provides one deliciously nutritious dessert. Beets and Medjool dates are high in natural sugar (which is why I love using them in desserts), so this dessert is sweet enough without extra sugar. For a sweeter flavor, add sweetener of your choice. Grab a spoon and dig into this scrumptious treat!
Beet Chocolate and Date Mousse Recipe (Gluten-Free / Vegan)
1-2 small-medium beetroot, cooked and peeled (for easy prep, use ready-to-eat packaged baby beets)
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
4 heaping tbsp coconut cream*
4 soaked pitted Medjool dates and 1 tbsp soaked liquid
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional - this recipe is naturally sweet without added sweeteners)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
*If using coconut or almond milk, use 2-3 tbsp. Coconut cream is a thicker consistency.
OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp Maca powder
1/4 cup water (only as needed for processing)
1 tbsp raw almond-butter
dash of cayenne or chili powder
cacao nibs, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, fresh mint, gluten-free oats, or gluten-free granola
1. Soak 4 pitted Medjool dates for 1/2 to 1 hour.
2. In a high-speed blender, add all the ingredients.
3. Blend well, stopping frequently to wipe down the sides with a spatula. Begin blending again, adding a little water, coconut water, or coconut milk as needed to create a light and smooth mousse consistency.
4. Spoon equal amounts into dessert glasses. Top with preferred toppings, such as fruit, cacao nibs, or coconut shreds. Chill in fridge for at least 20 mins before serving.
5. Serve in a glass layering with gluten-free oats, granola, or vegan yogurt or ice cream.